Hello, Dolly!

1969

Hello, Dolly!

Critics Consensus

Though Streisand charms, she's miscast as the titular middle-aged widow in Gene Kelly's sluggish and over-produced final directorial effort.

43%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 30

76%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 21,166
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Movie Info

Twenty-seven-year-old Barbra Streisand seemed an inappropriate choice for middle-aged, match-making widow Dolly Levi, but her energy carries her right through the role and dominates the lackluster movie around her. The plot, drawn from Thornton Wilder's The Matchmaker (itself based on a 19th-century British farce), is set in motion when Yonkers feed store clerk Cornelius Hackl (Michael Crawford) celebrates his promotion by taking his pal Barnaby Tucker (Danny Lockin) to New York City for a "corking good time." But Cornelius and Barnaby can't avoid crossing paths with their boss Horace Vandergelder (Walter Matthau), who'd give them Holy Ned if he saw them in a fancy restaurant with two fancy girls instead of tending the store. Mr. Vandergelder himself is the object of Dolly's affections, though she pretends to have only a professional interest in the widowed merchant, going through the motions of finding him a new wife when in fact she'd like to be the lucky bride herself. The film's musical set pieces include a show-stopping rendition of the title number, with Louis Armstrong more or less playing himself. The biggest number is "Before the Parade Passes By," in which thousands of costumed marchers and atmosphere extras cavort before a huge replica of a New York City thoroughfare in the 1890s (actually the main entrance of the 20th Century-Fox studio, with period facades adorning the office buildings). An artifact of an era in which Broadway musicals were a significant part of popular culture, Hello Dolly seemed bizarrely irrelevant in the social turmoil of the late 1960s, and it became one of the late-1960s big-budget failures that led Hollywood studios toward a different kind of filmmaking in the 1970s. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast

Barbra Streisand
as Dolly Levi
Walter Matthau
as Horace Vandergelder
Michael Crawford
as Cornelius Hackl
Marianne McAndrew
as Irene Molloy
Louis Armstrong
as Orchestra Leader
E.J. Peaker
as Minnie Fay
Danny Lockin
as Barnaby Tucker
Tommy Tune
as Ambrose Kemper
Judy Knaiz
as Gussie Granger
Joyce Ames
as Ermengarde
David Hurst
as Rudolph Reisenweber
Fritz Feld
as Fritz, German Waiter
Richard Collier
as Vandergelder's Barber
J. Pat O'Malley
as Policeman In Park
David Ahdar
as Laborer
Will Ahern
as Paper Ricker/Dancer
Ralph Roberts
as Policeman
Scatman Crothers
as Mr. Jones/ Porter
Ben Archibek
as Young Lover
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Critic Reviews for Hello, Dolly!

All Critics (30) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (13) | Rotten (17)

  • It relies almost exclusively on the celebrated eyes, ears, nose and throat of Streisand. Her musicianship remains irreproachable. But her mannerisms are so arch and calculated that one half expects to find a key implanted in her back.

    Apr 2, 2019 | Full Review…
  • Gene Kelly directed, a long way from Terpsichore apparently, though not, alas, from the Thanksgiving turkey.

    Mar 26, 2019 | Full Review…
  • Streisand is a unique performer, with that inborn vitality which marks great personalities.

    Mar 26, 2009 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • The Jerry Herman score is unmemorable, Michael Kidd's choreography is foreshortened to accommodate yards of additional dialogue by Ernest Lehman, and the rest is Streisand capably doing her thing in a series of plushily colossal sets.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Paul Taylor

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • [Director Gene Kelly and produce Ernest Lehmann] have been reverential to the point of idiocy, since, by preserving something basically thin and often witless on a large movie screen, they have merely inflated the faults to elephantine proportions.

    May 9, 2005 | Full Review…
  • Emphasis has been placed on extravaganza, when it should really have been placed on getting good performances out of a talented cast.

    Apr 2, 2019 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Hello, Dolly!

  • May 11, 2014
    Its almost universally hated for some reason . . . as if making a big, goofy, fun musical was a crime/too old fashioned in 1969 (seriously, had it been released one year earlier I doubt it would have this reputation). Streisand's just so charming in this.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 10, 2013
    Poor Walter Matthau was old even when he was young. This is the opportunity for him to go through the motions and for Barbra Streisand to sing and dance around. It isn't entirely bad but it isn't a classic.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Aug 04, 2010
    Wonderful musical, and Barbra is the perfect fit. Matthau is just as brilliant and silly as ever.
    Spencer S Super Reviewer
  • Jun 16, 2009
    I had NOO Idea that Barbra Streisand could sing like that! wow...She was great in the role of Dolly just the way she is all of the time! Micheal Crawford was very good as well. He AND his chicken legs! haha. I've been listening to him as the Phantom ever sense I was 5 and now SEEING him and how he ACTS just makes me laugh and realize he must have great range! I love how he kinda stops and sucks in his lower lip, its just soo cute! '' Apart from Gene Kelly being a great actor he is also a very good director. Watching all these dance numbers i just think "ahhh i would be dying on the floor after the first 3 minutes" Exelent dance numbers.
    Morgan S Super Reviewer

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